Businesses around the islands are counting their losses after the tsunami alert. For some, those losses are huge. Saturday night, Halloween weekend – it's usually a boon for late-night establishments, but this was an economic bust.
The downtown marquee at Hawaii Theatre read "Tsunami Warning", and it made it all so real. Within minutes, Honolulu's huge Hallowbaloo block party went belly up. Hallowbaloo festival organizer, Mark Tarone, says, "All kinds of different people, wonderful costumes, we were set to have our best night ever."
Instead, mermaids boarded buses. Fake cops skipped out. Businesses, like Camille's on Wheels food truck, were left with empty registers. "These events, generally, are very, very busy, and I was right at the point for prepping for the large surge," says owner Camille Komine.
Komine lost about $600, plus the cost of renting space and hiring extra staff. Tarone spends six months organizing the annual Hallowbaloo event. He estimates 10,000 partygoers had shown up at the time of the warning - with double that expected as the night progressed.
Tarone says, "Dollars and cents, these events typically cost between $80,000 and $100,000 to run. And our revenues on the streets were more like $15,000.
Hallowbaloo, Mardi Gras, and Cinco de Mayo are the best moneymaking nights of the year in downtown Honolulu.
"We lost many thousands of dollars," says Serena Hashimoto, owner of Downbeat Diner, located on Hotel street.
Saturday's loss was made even worse for Hashimoto and her partner because thieves broke in just days before. "They stole our safe. We had looked forward to the weekend to be able to make back some of our loss. And so, to have been robbed and have Hallowbaloo canceled, it's been a wild ride."
Tarone says they'll reschedule Hallowbaloo for this Wednesday, Halloween night. There won't be a block party, but previously purchased wristband tickets will be honored at most venues that participated last Saturday.
They're also holding a free concert tonight (Monday) at The Venue club on Bethel street. The group, Delta Spirit will be playing. Organizers are asking for donations to help off-set the losses from the tsunami evacuation. Doors open at 8:30.